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Blog | Feb 12, 2024

What is a Citizen Developer?

What Is a Citizen Developer?
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Citizen developers are non-IT employees familiar with your business processes. Typically, they’re the people willing to learn new skills to help their organization become more efficient. Citizen developers use simple tools to deploy intelligent automation (IA) solutions. IA digital workers help handle routine, repetitive tasks so your human employees can work on more valuable and interesting activities.

Intelligent automation includes digital technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation (RPA) and business process management (BPM), and it can be adopted into many areas of your business, including HR payroll, time management, data entry, appointment scheduling, etc.

Here’s what the analysts say:

Gartner: By 2024, 80% of technology products and services will be built by employees outside the IT function

Who are citizen developers?

They can be anyone in your business. Look for people passionate to take on a challenge and who know some aspect of your business in and out. They should understand your current processes and be ready to come up with ideas to make them better. They know where your business problems are, and they’re ready to solve them!

What should I look for in a potential citizen developer?

Find those people able to gather ideas from across the business, and who care about creating consistent, workable results. They don’t need to be professional developers; they just need to be willing to think up ways automation can simplify complex processes.

Citizen developer vs professional developer

Citizen developers are trained to create low-code or no-code automations with simple, drag-and-drop development tools. They don’t have to be highly trained software developers to deploy automations within your business.

  • Low-code automation development platforms require basic coding skills to design and create applications. Some of these visual development tools allow a small amount of code development, if needed, for more advanced or customized functionality.
  • No-code automation development platforms are more accessible to non-technical business users and don’t require any lines of code.

SS&C | Blue Prism® UX Builder is a no-code platform for easy application development. Business users can build applications for customer interaction by dragging and dropping elements onto a canvas.

What do citizen developers do?

Your citizen developers work to identify automation opportunities in your business and investigate how automation can improve processes. Within this is the added responsibility of ensuring your processes follow governance frameworks and guardrails. This will mitigate risks and ensure you’re running consistent and robust automations.

There are many roles within citizen development where your people can contribute depending on their skills and interests. SS&C Blue Prism offers many tools that can help your citizen developers get started, learn and improve their automations as they go.





Identify IA candidates and create an automation pipeline.

SS&C | Blue Prism® Process Assessment Tool (PAT)


Assess potential IA candidates and use tools to determine what to automate based on return on investment (ROI), complexity and required infrastructure.

SS&C | Blue Prism® Process Intelligence (BPPI)


Capture and examine existing processes and tasks and identify required improvements prior to automating.

SS&C | Blue Prism® Capture


Develop automations with no- or low-code tools and work with automation specialists to get these into production.

SS&C | Blue Prism® Interact


Review and monitor automations to identify continuous ways to improve and optimize them.

SS&C | Blue Prism® Chorus BPM


Provide governance and oversight of the organization’s automation program.

SS&C | Blue Prism® Robotic Operating Model™ (ROM2)

Why Should Companies Invest in Citizen Developers?

We’re in an era where tech and business are inexorably interwoven. It’s time leaders and their organizations embrace the citizen developer way to create more empowered business users, drive better business value and find new ways to achieve top efficiency.

The benefits of a citizen development program include faster app development time and more focused projects based on where your business most needs process efficiency. Removing bottlenecks will help achieve further cost savings across your business. This also reduces IT backlogs by transferring some of the automation responsibility onto citizen developers. Plus, citizen development gives more opportunities for your employees to contribute and build on their skills, leading to higher employee satisfaction.

But the key here is governance. Establishing a governance framework for your citizen developers will help them hit key targets while ensuring your automation program’s security and compliance adhere to industry and government regulations. This will be especially crucial as regional laws continue to evolve regarding environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.

Best Practices for Citizen Developers

The scope of your citizen development needs to be properly defined, managed and controlled. This will ensure the development process runs efficiently and consistently. One of the best ways to do this is by establishing a Center of Excellence (CoE) team. This team is responsible for establishing governance and strategy and enforcing it with automation leads.

As a minimum, your citizen developers should have:

  • A governance framework with a reliable methodology, design authority, quality control, program review and continuous improvement initiatives.
  • A robust security plan to ensure developers only have access to the systems, business applications and data they need as part of their role.
  • Training to ensure they know how to use their automation tools.
  • Automation tools that enable reusable and scalable process automations.

Checklist for getting started

Here are the top things you should have when starting a citizen developer program:

  1. Get executive buy-in and sponsorship for the program.
  2. Identify the right people as your citizen developers.
  3. Set up roles and responsibilities.
  4. Identify the right IA techniques, including automation tools, methodologies, strategies and best practices.
  5. Establish a community for ideas sharing and tips and tricks.
  6. Define the rules of what applications can be developed and which use more sensitive data.
  7. Consider what infrastructure, systems and training you’ll need to jumpstart your citizen developer program.

Be Prepared

Governance is key to establishing a reliable citizen developer program in your organization. The SS&C Blue Prism ROM2 is a proven intelligent automation methodology built by customers and for customers to guide and support developers. It reduces risk and helps an organization scale their automation program across departments. ROM2 can help ensure a rapid and repeatable approach to delivering reliable automated processes. Support your citizen developers and help them put their best foot forward. Read our e-book, “Democratizing Innovation With a Thriving Citizen Developer Culture” to discover more.

Not sure where your organization can benefit from intelligent automation? Get started with our quick, five-click assessment to see the top use cases in your industry.

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